Full disclosure: I didn’t know this was a thing. Then again, I didn’t know about National Donut Day, National Grilled Cheese Day, or any number of celebratory days, but I’m happy to have a reason to celebrate!
Kidding aside, I really thought this day was just another made-up day. After all, isn’t every day coming out day? Do we need to choose one particular day of the year in which non-hetero people must come out to their families, friends, themselves?
Then I listened to this very thoughtful podcast from NPR in which Sam Sanders discusses the origins of Coming Out Day, its importance in the past, and whether it’s relevant in today’s slightly more accepting culture. Give it a listen, I highly recommend it. Go on, I’ll wait.
It’s thought-provoking, isn’t it? It’s interesting to think that within our generation, we’ve gone from gay-panic jokes on sitcoms to TV shows starring out gay actors. And our kids are growing up in a culture where being non-binary is almost becoming the norm. Where we grew up with an understanding of sexuality as a binary – you’re either gay, or straight – our kids are very much more at ease with fluidity rather than seeing a need to define themselves within one narrow stricture.
Years before our oldest daughter came out to us, she asked me what it means to be gay. I explained that some people are attracted to the opposite sex, some people are attracted to the same sex, but most people fall somewhere in the middle. I drew her a little diagram, like this:
Gay ——————————————————— Straight
She drew a circle somewhere in the middle of the line, and said “that’s me”.
So I think in a way, that’s the day she came out, to me and to herself.
And National Coming Out Day seems like the best day of all to launch this blog!